05/11/2012 07:01 am ET Updated Jul 11, 2012

5 Summer Road Trips On Half A Tank (PHOTOS)

Forget the bald eagle or the Statue of Liberty. In America, the car is still the ultimate symbol of freedom, empowering us to shift our daily routines out of idle and "go anywhere" -- as long as we make peace with the traffic report before we go.

But this summer, as cable news pundits have endlessly bellowed, a sinister villain threatens this freedom: Steep gas prices are spooking Americans away from the wheel. Over half of the 2,500 Americans surveyed by the U.S. Travel Association said that an increase in fuel costs would make them rethink their summer road trip plans, with 37.5 percent indicating that they'd drive shorter distances.

Determined to prove that shaving off a few miles from your drive doesn't herald an apocalypse of summer freedom and fun, the experts mapped out 15 short weekend road trips that will get you from point A to points B, C and D while burning less than a single tank of gas -- and we still took the scenic routes.

Short Weekend Road Trips